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Eavesdropping Controls

January 25, 1956

Report Outline
Concern Over Growing Invasion of Privacy
Advances in Techniques of Eavesdropping
Legal Restraints on Eavesdropping
Proposals to Overhaul Tapping Laws

Concern Over Growing Invasion of Privacy

Technical advances in the delicate art of snooping have put new pressure behind demands for legislation which will effectively ban, or place under proper safeguards, the use of mechanical devices for listening in on private conversations. A congressional investigation of wiretapping last spring directed attention to the weakness or lax enforcement of present control laws and to the resulting encouragement of indiscriminate eavesdropping by the police, private detectives, blackmailers, and extortionists.

The House Judiciary Committee is planning to draft new and comprehensive legislation to govern interception of communications. Sen. Alexander Wiley (R-Mich.), who headed a Senate subcommittee which studied the relationship between wiretapping and national security two years ago, also intends to introduce a bill that “once and for all will absolutely ban … private eavesdropping for unofficial purposes.”

Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee which conducted the 1955 inquiry, said on Mar. 23: “The sanctity of the home cannot be eroded. Lawless taps would eventually render confidential communications a nullity as between husband and wife, lawyer and client, doctor and patient, confessor and penitent.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Privacy
Oct. 25, 2013  Big Data and Privacy
Aug. 30, 2013  Government Surveillance
Jan. 25, 2013  Social Media Explosion
Sep. 17, 2010  Social Networking
Nov. 06, 2009  Online PrivacyUpdated
Nov. 17, 2006  Privacy in Peril
Jun. 15, 2001  Privacy Under Attack
Nov. 06, 1998  Internet Privacy
Nov. 19, 1993  Privacy in the Workplace
Apr. 17, 1992  Politicians and Privacy
Jan. 20, 1989  Your Right to Privacy
Mar. 21, 1986  Privacy in the Workplace
Oct. 18, 1974  Rights to Privacy
Apr. 05, 1967  Wiretapping and Bugging
Apr. 20, 1966  Protection of Privacy
Nov. 09, 1961  Wiretapping in Law Enforcement
Feb. 29, 1956  Surveillance of Spying
Jan. 25, 1956  Eavesdropping Controls
Mar. 14, 1949  Wire Tapping
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